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From the New York Times news section:

Investigators uncover an effort to defraud U.S. unemployment systems.

With states scrambling to pay out unemployment claims to tens of millions of Americans, a vast attack flooding unemployment agencies with fraudulent claims appears to have already siphoned millions of dollars in payments.

Investigators from the Secret Service said they had information implicating a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring, and that stolen information such as social security numbers had allowed the network to file claims on behalf of people who in many cases had not lost their jobs.

Most of the fraudulent claims have so far been concentrated in Washington State, but evidence also pointed to similar attacks in Florida, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island and Wyoming.

 
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  1. I thought we’d outsourced all this work long ago. Well, as long as they’re wearing their face masks, I guess it’s OK.

    • LOL: MBlanc46
  2. Cortes says:

    The reference to a Nigerian fraud ring sparked fond memories of a period during my time with a small government department in the 1990s. Month after month we had to read and then sign warning memos about fishing invoices from Nigerian gangs purporting to be in respect of goods or services rendered.

    On return from a sort of sabbatical around 1996 I was playing catch-up and spotted a note to the annual accounts for one of those years that listed an “extraordinary payment” of well north of £250k. No further details in print. Enquiries led me to believe that the payment had been signed off by the guy who was issuing the monthly memos on a single invoice from a scammer. The signatory was retired on his pension.

    • LOL: Neoconned
  3. JohnnyD says:

    I wonder if was the same white supremacist Nigerians who attacked Jusse Smolllet.

    • LOL: Old and Grumpy
  4. Inverness says:

    I always knew the New York Times was racist.

  5. Rob McX says:

    It stands to reason that Third World criminals would all want to emigrate to white countries – richer pickings, and more endurable punishment in the event that they get caught.

    …”Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

    What a mug Whitey is.

    • Replies: @animalogic
  6. This is a job for James Veitch:

    https://veitch.me

    His CV includes yanking Nigerian chains, and living in Yonkers for a time.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  7. Orbot says:

    This is the type of creative idea that seems up your alley Steve:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/opinion/coronavirus-reopen.html

  8. Anonymous[344] • Disclaimer says:

    Reminds me of a scheme I read about a few years ago where east Africans were defrauding a Minnesota program to provide cheap child care to get Somali mothers into the workplace. A whole bunch of Somalis started fake day-cares and charged the state to look after kids of mothers who weren’t really working. To do so they openly encouraged Somali mothers to come in and fraudulently sign their children in, go home, then come back and sign them out at the end of the day in exchange for a small cut of the take. When searching for it I found out other east Africans were running an almost identical scheme in Australia.

    Isn’t Nigeria the country that had difficultly running life insurance programs due to fraudsters taking out the insurance, then submitting false claims (with the aid of corrupt doctors who signed the death certificates)?

    In a similar vein, those poor Finns are starting to understand third-world honesty(all from Finland’s version of the BBC):

    November 2018:Asylum seeker killed in Iraq weeks after repatriation from Finland

    November 2019:[European Court of Human Rights] rules Finland violated human rights of murdered asylum seeker

    April 2020:Finnish police believe asylum seeker staged his own death after returning to Iraq

    May 2020:Asylum seeker who allegedly faked death suspected of fraud, forgery

  9. Anon[220] • Disclaimer says:

    Speaking of fraud, there’s something bizarre about New York State’s reported death rate. Here’s a link to the Johns Hopkins website. If you click on the United States on the left, then look all the way over to the top right, it says, New York: 28,048 deaths and 60,796 recovered.

    https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

    Now here’s the fatality data right off the New York State Department of Health website. It says: 22,478 dead.

    https://covid19tracker.health.ny.gov/views/NYS-COVID19-Tracker/NYSDOHCOVID-19Tracker-Fatalities?%3Aembed=yes&%3Atoolbar=no&%3Atabs=n

    Let me repeat that: Johns Hopkins data for New York: 28,048 dead. NY State Department of Health, 22,478.

    Why is there such a large gap between the two numbers? That’s 5,570 deaths. Has Cuomo has ordered his underlings at the State Department of Health to suppress the death count? Johns Hopkins claims part of their data comes from the CDC and WHO. Is New York reporting different numbers to them?

  10. utu says:

    Court: Israelis Suspected in ‘Nigerian Scam’ Can Be Extradited to U.S.
    https://www.haaretz.com/1.5135080

    Canadian National Who Conned U.S. Senior Citizens out of Money via ‘Grandparent Scam’ Sentenced to 41 months in Federal Prison
    https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/canadian-national-who-conned-us-senior-citizens-out-money-grandparent-scam-sentenced-41

    “Three of Kirstein’s co-conspirators – Agiyl Kamaldin, 32; Mark El Bernachawy, 34; and Kelen Magael Buchan, 27, all from the Montreal area – were also extradited and sentenced to prison time after pleading guilty to criminal charges.”

  11. Dtbb says:

    I got 3 or 4 texts a few months ago that purported to help me collect benefits. I ignored it as an obvious scam. I know a few people who are playing the gov’t over number of dependents, or splitting years up, and other scams. It is the same small time scammers that have been doing it for years. It is a huger problem than most believe. Nobody cares.

  12. epebble says:
    @utu

    My guess is this is an East European/Russian job with a Nigerian cover. Nigerian operations are considerably low tech – like sending emails – and not the big data operation needed to vacuum large amount of data to create realistic virtual persona.

    But then, we also have this: https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2020/05/15/social-security-numbers-banking-information-left-unprotected-on-arkansas-pua-website

  13. Daniel H says:

    You know, one may have thought that our entire world was going to pieces with this virus thing, the coming Wall Street collapse, undeterred China, dysfunctional military, etc., so there is, to my mind at least, something comforting, reassuring, familiar about a new twist on the ol’ Nigerian scam. Know hope.

  14. Anonymous[311] • Disclaimer says:

    An awful lot of idiots out there credit Nigerians with ‘intelligence’ because of their well known tendency to fraud, deceit and deception.
    Of course, nothing could be further from the truth, the law of diminishing returns operates here as the conned become wary of the conners and rationality – that is explicit racial discrimination against dealing with Nigerians, kicks in.
    Of course, in today’s PC Economist whipped world, rational behavior is a no no, but when it comes to safeguarding money, believe me, scruples fall away faster than Stormy Daniels’ panties.
    Anyhow, a further point is that Nigerians are so spectacularly untalented in *real* entrepreneurial activity, that is making things people want or trading shrewdly in what people want, all they can do is out and out scam.
    – or sell there own people.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
    , @Fun
  15. @epebble

    “Arkansas PUA website”– did anyone else read that as “pick-up artist”?

    You-know-who came from the Land of Opportunity.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  16. LondonBob says:
    @utu

    I was reading about a bitcoin scam the other day, still amazed this elderly couple has sent them £110k based on a newspaper advert and a convincing phone call. Beware of bitcoin, Israeli organised crime have moved on from binary options to bitcoin.

  17. Pericles says:
    @Anonymous

    2020 and onwards: The European Court of Human Rights was not available for comments.

  18. @epebble

    “My guess is that this is an East European/Russian job with a Nigerian cover.”

    If you guessed that it was an Our Greatest Allies scam with an East European/Russian cover, you’d be a lot closer to home.

    • Agree: Lurker, Kratoklastes
  19. utu says:
    @epebble

    Kirstein, Agiyl Kamaldin, Mark El Bernachawy, Kelen Magael Buchan do not look nor sound like East European/Russian or Nigerian names.

    • Replies: @Lot
  20. utu says:

    OT FYI: Sweden vs. Europe: 30 European countries are compared. Population density correlates with deaths/million data. The population density explains 28% of variance in 30 countries mortality data. When the four top outliers (Sweden, Ireland, France and Belgium) are removed the population density explains 57% of variance in data. The data presented in the following graph are deaths/million divided by the population density. This dividing reduces the variance in data for the 26 countries by factor of two. Sweden is the worst outlier. It is 4SD above the median and 12 times higher than median. Only four countries (Sweden, Ireland, France, Belgium) are 1SD above the median. Austria, Slovenia, Portugal and Norway are closest to the median. Slovakia, Greece, Cyprus and Bulgaria are the best performing countries and Ireland, France and Belgium are the worst performing countries among those which implemented countermeasures.

    The population density was corrected for the uninhabited areas. For instance this correction increases Spain’s population density by factor of 7.9 while Belgium’s by factor of 1.2 only as compared with the arithmetic population density. By this metric Spain is the most densely lived country in Europe followed by Netherlands, UK, Italy and Belgium.

    https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/02/theres-a-better-way-to-measure-population-density/552815/

    If we were able to calculate Disease Effective Population Density (DEPD) where each fatality is assigned the population density of the square kilometer where he/she lived or got infected and then summed up and divided by the number of fatalities then even more than 57% of variance would be removed from the mortality data.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @res
  21. @utu

    Haven’t you heard of African Jews?

  22. Franz says:
    @Anon

    Why is there such a large gap between the two numbers?

    When you’re counting deaths from alcohol poisoning and old age as Covid-19, sometimes even the number-crunchers get confused.

    But back on topic: Nigerians were actually scamming people in the 1980s with multi-level mail frauds, letters telling people they won billions in the Swiss lottery but they have to route through Nigeria and you have to pay thousands for them to do the exchange, etc. There was no Internet when they started this stuff.

    Who said there’s no ingenuity in Africa? The trick is finding someone to hustle after the coming depression. People who fall for scams will be broke and millionaires have always known better.

  23. @utu

    How about if you looked at private car mileage per person? I would imagine there is a negative correlation.

    • Replies: @utu
  24. Escher says:

    Do Nigerian immigrants apply under the “exceptionally skilled in scams” category?
    They seem to have figured out this line of work better than anyone else.

    • Replies: @bomag
    , @dcthrowback
    , @Anonymous
  25. utu says:
    @Steve Sailer

    Good idea. I’ll look for data.

  26. Anonymous[283] • Disclaimer says:
    @Reg Cæsar

    According to the late British comedian Simon Hoggart, Idaho is a state ‘famous for its potatoes’, (as signified by a myriad licence plates), and the ‘virulence of its neo-nazis’.

    • Replies: @Alden
  27. @Rob McX

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but most of the fraud will be done off-shore. The Nigerian gangsters only need a handful of people on shore to do any “in person” stuff….

  28. Wait! What? You mean these hard-working, go-getter Nigerians, who apparently have the highest IQs in sub-Saharan Africa, are fraudsters?

  29. Gordo says:
    @epebble

    East European/Russian

    Yeah we know what you mean.

  30. Bill P says:

    This scamming starts at the top. Washington state has long been lax about these things, probably to increase the democrat voter base. I’ve seen Mexicans show up at the DMV with an old, typewritten piece of paper and no other verification and walk out with a driver’s license. The same rules apply to collecting federal benefits, so there are going to be a lot of foreigners scamming with the state’s tacit assistance.

    Washington is a vote by mail state, so if these people claim residence it comes in handy for ballot manufacturing. Democracy in this state has been a joke since the democrats stole the 2004 gubernatorial election. Recently, I heard one of our crooks got hired down in LA to work for establishment (white) democrats there. Dean Logan is his name IIRC.

  31. About 15 or 20 years ago I watched a 20/20 segment about medicare fraud in Florida, which at the time (and perhaps still) is the worst state for such abuses. For a brief moment, in typical documentary fashion, they flashed on a sheet of paper with a list of names of people convicted of defrauding the system (fraudulent charges for services not rendered) and I don’t recall seeing a single Anglo or European name on the list.

  32. bomag says:
    @Escher

    Acquaintance was tasked with sorting through job applicants and finding an acceptable Nigerian, for the usual reasons. In the interview with the top candidate, they asked him for a notable accomplishment, and the guy proudly launched into how he worked a successful scam.

    • Replies: @Redneck farmer
  33. @Anon

    Anon, NY won’t record those deaths until they registered them, post mortem, as Democrats.

  34. @Reg Cæsar

    Hey, watch it, Reg. Don’t say chains, on black people, no less. That’s raciss. And don’t say Yonkers. That’s … something.

    BTW, there was a group of (mostly) Canadians called the 419-Eaters who would scam the Nigerians back. Believe me, to do this with people who don’t have much money to begin with is a arduous task and requires months of once-a-week-or-so effort to get a score The really funny stuff is when they would get the Nigerians to hold up funny signs or wear something, that somehow is supposed to have to do with proving who’s whom or building trust.

    What a blast! I’ll still keep my day job for now, though …

  35. In some big cities,icluding Boston, San Francisco and Chicago, the DA won’t prosecute crimes, like shop lifting, if the total taken is less than $950 and that is per incident. So, scamming a mere $6oo a week doesn’t even register on the Crime-O-Meter.

  36. @Escher

    exactly. check out this scam “maryland” man pulled on the IRS:

    https://apnews.com/58c4e28ab12c443f9f39e6d3fd0c549c/Nigerian-man-sentenced-to-15-years-for-IRS-tax-return-scheme

    There’s more than just this, turns out many Americans of color were using fake names to do this, too. It became so popular, a rap song called “drop hoe” became briefly popular about the scheme.

    https://www.dontmesswithtaxes.com/2015/08/tax-fraud-gangsters-celebrate-their-crimes-in-song.html

  37. Not only unemployment claims fraud by Nigerians, but also Paycheck Protection Program fraud by reality TV characters.

    WaPo, 05/16/20 – Reality star charged with spending funds from federal small business program on jewelry, Rolls-Royce

    Eighty-five thousand dollars in jewelry. A 2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith luxury coupe. Forty-thousand dollars in child support payments.

    Maurice “Mo” Fayne, a trucking company owner who appears regularly on the reality show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” has been charged with using more than $1.5 million in Small Business Administration stimulus funds to enrich himself rather than for paying workers and small business expenses as the program requires.

    According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, Fayne is the sole owner of a Georgia corporation called Flame Trucking that received a $2 million bank loan through the SBA’s relief package for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program.

    On May 13 Fayne was arrested and then charged with bank fraud. Prosecutors alleged he used more than $1.5 million on unauthorized purchases including the car, jewelry and child support…

    Fayne is charged with using the money for much different purposes than he allegedly stated on his application. According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Fayne, 37, stated on a loan application to United Community Bank that his trucking company had 107 employees and a monthly payroll of $1.5 million. He allegedly certified that the loan proceeds would be used to “retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments, as specified under the Paycheck Protection Program Rule.”

    The FBI assisted with the investigation, along with the SBA’s Office of Inspector General. Agents searched Fayne’s home in Dacula, outside Atlanta, on May 11 and seized “approximately $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets.” They also used seizure warrants to take control of approximately $503,000 of remaining PPP funds from three of Fayne’s bank accounts…

    Fayne, known as “Arkansas Mo” on the show, is one of the only people to be charged with a crime for misuse of funds from the SBA program. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza have heralded PPP as a success, as more than 4.2 million businesses and nonprofit organizations have received a total of more than $531 billion in funding for the program through May, according to recent data.

    The SBA has so far refused to release the names of companies that have received PPP loans. The Washington Post and several other news organizations have filed a lawsuit against the SBA for access to these records. SBA officials say they rely on the good faith of applicants to self-certify that they are in need of the funds because of uncertainty created by the coronavirus, though officials plan to audit loans of more than $2 million. Loans will be forgiven so long as they are used appropriately.

    • Replies: @BenKenobi
  38. Anonymous[609] • Disclaimer says:

    In London, England, local government is effectively run by Nigerians and other blacks, since they have PC preference for all the best jobs going, and the Labour Party, which controls most London local government, worships at the excreta of blacks.
    The end result is an enormous level of corruption and fraud – particularly in the field of low income housing allocation.
    It’s an open secret, just like Pakistani sex abuse gangs, but the powers that be won’t touch it, for similar reasons.

  39. Anonymous[337] • Disclaimer says:
    @Escher

    Trump eventually had to slap a travel ban on these damn nigerians.

  40. @Anonymous

    Reminds me of a scheme I read about a few years ago where east Africans were defrauding a Minnesota program to provide cheap child care to get Somali mothers into the workplace. A whole bunch of Somalis started fake day-cares and charged the state to look after kids of mothers who weren’t really working. To do so they openly encouraged Somali mothers to come in and fraudulently sign their children in, go home, then come back and sign them out at the end of the day in exchange for a small cut of the take. When searching for it I found out other east Africans were running an almost identical scheme in Australia.

    Isn’t Nigeria the country that had difficultly running life insurance programs due to fraudsters taking out the insurance, then submitting false claims (with the aid of corrupt doctors who signed the death certificates)?

    In a similar vein, those poor Finns are starting to understand third-world honesty(all from Finland’s version of the BBC):

    Importing people from countries consistently ranked as the most corrupt in the world by Germany’s Transparency International and hoping they will become law-abiding citizens in places like graft-averse Finland and Australia is folly.

    Somalia and Nigeria aren’t even real countries but collections of different families, clans and tribes. Taking “gibs” or “free stuff” from the system by whatever means is fine as long as you share with your family and clan. Similarly elections are about voting for your own kind so as to get tribal gibs.

    A good insight into this third world mentality is the book “It’s Our Turn to Eat” by Michela Wrong a former Financial Times (UK) correspondent.

    • Replies: @Art Deco
  41. res says:
    @utu

    So what you are saying is for that data population density is most useful as a predictor where it matters least (fewest deaths).

    Population density is important, but don’t pretend this example equates to explaining more than 50% of the variance.

    BTW, any thoughts on the paper we are discussing over in James Thompson blog showing how important airport connectivity is as a predictor?
    https://www.unz.com/jthompson/sneeze-and-fly/#comment-3889367

    • Replies: @utu
  42. Why dont governors and public health officials donate their salaries to the States unemployment insurance fund for the duration of the lockdown

  43. BenKenobi says:
    @E. Rekshun

    I think the best move after defrauding the government of $1.5 million would be to electronically move the funds somewhere secure and then immediately leave the country for some non-extradition locale and live on the beach for the rest of your life.

  44. @Anonymous

    “An awful lot of idiots out there credit Nigerians with ‘intelligence’ because of their well known tendency to fraud, deceit and deception.”

    I’d love to know the ethnic grouping of these fraudsters – are they all Ibo/Igbo? They’re the highest IQ Nigerian group, although that didn’t stop them losing the Biafran war.

  45. Fun says:
    @Anonymous

    Scamming foreigners is economically rational, from the perspective of a Nigerian in Nigeria. This is a country where per capita income is 10% of the U.S., and average household puts half their income into food costs.

    Say you’re a executing a “Nigerian prince”-style phishing scam. The potential risk of getting caught is trivial, and because your targets are Westerners who make more in month than you do in a year, the potential reward is enormous.

    Things are obviously different from a FOB immigrant. Point being, incentives matter. Even pre-mass immigration American didn’t run on everyone being honest.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  46. Lot says:
    @utu

    Iacino – Italian

    Mark El Bernachawy – probably Lebanese or other ME Christian

    Kelen Magael Buchan – Surname is most commonly Scottish, and he’s from heavily Scottish Nova Scotia. Magael looks like some odd form of Miguel. Scots-Sephardi?

    Agiyl Kamaldin – First name is a Hebrew word but doesn’t appear to be a first name in anyone but this guy, last name seems Turkish or Arab.

    Clifford Kirstein – never heard the surname before, but the most famous Americans with the surname are AJs from Rochester NY who immigrated from Germany: a CEO of Filene’s department store, a publisher of The Nation, and a ballet composer and co-founder of the NY Ballet.

    Appears the name is most common in Denmark. Dual origins:

    “German: from a derivative of the Latin personal name Christianus (see Christian). Jewish (Ashkenazic): ornamental name from German Kirsch- ‘cherry’ + Stein ‘stone’.“

    In the USA, more common in PA than NY, so probably predominantly non-Jewish.

  47. utu says:
    @res

    “Population density is important, but don’t pretend this example equates to explaining more than 50% of the variance.” – I do not pretend, I just have processed data I found. 57% of variance among 26 EU countries is explained with population density on this data set. So at least in the part of universe I live 57% is more than 50%. I believe that if we had the Disease Effective Population Density (DEPD) it would be even higher. If we had the DEPD Ireland and France would both fall closer to the median, I think.

    I would say, yes, the effective density of population is the most important confounding variable when comparing EU countries because they already share so many other factors due to similarity of cultures, economic systems and politics. And once you remove this confounding variable you see other differences like the effectiveness of countermeasures. That’s why Sweden stands out as the greatest outlier. It would be interesting to look if number of people per apartment, age profiles, obesity or even smoking would further reduce the variance. Steve Sailer suggested passenger car usage and commenting but I could not find good data yet.

    I think similar comparison could be done for the states in the US, but one needs to get the effective population density. At least the uninhabited areas should be removed or better something like the DEPD.

    Airplanes? They do not affect R0 but priming and seeding only. The airplane connectivity may show up in time offsets between countries when the epidemics took off.

    • Replies: @res
  48. Muggles says:
    @Anonymous

    When I traveled to Nigeria in the late 70s on business, the Lagos newspapers (there were many) were full of stories about “tricksters” scamming the locals. So they are well practiced in this art.

    Many of them are quite personable. Once during a local payroll review I ran across a chap named Hitler Omudu.

  49. @Anon

    Perhaps the NY State number is ‘confirmed‘ deaths (i.e., the good old “death-with“), whereas the higher number includes them new-fangled ‘probable‘ deaths (a category that was hyped in late April, which is best described as “death-not-even-with“).

    For NYC, ‘confirmed’ deaths-with stand at 15,888 and ‘deaths-not-even-with’ total 4,832 (both numbers as at 1:45pm May 17 2020). So ‘deaths-not-even-with’ inflate the already-overstated deaths-with by 30%, giving a total of 20,720.

    The US has long been known for its dodgy financial reporting and GDP accounting; now it’s clear that literally any number in the US press is made up.

    At least this time there was a heads-up.

    Recall back in early March when the WHO issued new ICD-10 categories for COVID19 deaths: U07.1 (a positive test for coronavirus) and U07.2 (clinical presentation but no test). From the WHO COVID19 Coding in ICD10 (25 March 2020

    On March 24th 2020, the US CDC directed examiners to only use U07.1, including where there was no test but coronavirus was assumed to have contributed to the death. It was also made clear that if U07.1 was listed among the ICD-10 codes for a death, it would be recorded as the primary cause of death. (See COVID19 Alert 2: New ICD Code Introduced for COVID19 Deaths)

    The US CDC led the global push to make COVID19 death reporting about as reliable as an Enron 10Q.

    And here we are.

    Evil Russia refuses to play by the same dodgy rule book, and so only counts people who actually die from covid19.

    As far as I can determine, it is the only land mass on this wet ball of rock that records COVID19 deaths honestly. It has 2,631 confirmed deaths-from – i.e., where
     • someone died; and
     • a PCR test confirmed infection with SARS-nCoV-2; and
     • the cause of death was an ARDS-like respiratory dysfunction.

    That list above is what a HousewifeTV viewer in the West thinks Sanjay .Gupta is talking about when he talks about people “killed by coronavirus” with the deliberate imprecision that is a hallmark of a charlatan.

    TFH (Tin-Foil Hat) Section

    Download those PDFs. I strongly suspect that the old links will be 404’d in due course, the way EuroMoMo’s “What is a z-score?” was removed from menus shortly after an inquiry was sent about how a supposed z-score > 4 happens so often. The material is still at the same URL – but it is no longer in the dropdown in any nav menu on their site.

  50. @Franz

    My understanding is the Nigerians started out scamming rich people, and gradually went downmarket as communications got cheaper.

  51. @Franz

    The trick is finding someone to hustle after the coming depression. People who fall for scams will be broke and millionaires have always known better.

    Heirs and lottery winners.

  52. res says:
    @utu

    Population density is important, but don’t pretend this example equates to explaining more than 50% of the variance.” – I do not pretend, I just have processed data I found. 57% of variance among 26 EU countries is explained with population density on this data set. So at least in the part of universe I live 57% is more than 50%.

    After you cherry pick the countries. Excluding the ones with the most deaths. LOL! You can be sure I won’t let you forget this one.

    I would say, yes, the effective density of population is the most important confounding variable when comparing EU countries because they already share so many other factors due to similarity of cultures, economic systems and politics.

    I find that assertion plausible, likely even.

    Airplanes? They do not affect R0 but priming and seeding only. The airplane connectivity may show up in time offsets between countries when the epidemics took off.

    And you think priming and seeding won’t affect the effective R0? Anything that increases network connectivity between people is likely to increase the effective R0 (and the reverse for decreasing it, what do you think most of the countermeasures are doing?). Agreed about the time offsets.

    • Replies: @utu
    , @adreadline
  53. Anonymous[427] • Disclaimer says:

    Old people are naturally vulnerable as hell to scams, frauds, and businesses organized to leverage their credulity and need for someone to talk to. Kirby vacuum cleaners-the machine itself is well made, if overpriced-and the home organ business (the last purveyor, Lowrey, recently finally quit) are examples of businesses that are technically legal and aboveboard but which persist (or did persist for decades after their product was obsolete) becuse their insane pricing exploits the lack of knowledge and general gullibility of oldsters.

    So, it is probably reasonable of society to look with disfavor on such businesses.

    • Replies: @E. Rekshun
    , @Art Deco
  54. utu says:
    @res

    After you cherry pick the countries. – Are you telling me that Europe has many more countries I did not know? Some countries I forgot? Should I include Andorra, Liechtenstein, Vatican, Monaco, Malta? I took 30 ‘real’ countries in European. Then applied |y-med|>k*SD shave with k=1 that picked 4 outliers: Swe, Ire, Fra and Bel. These are the only countries outside the 1SD band. Is it cherry picking? We know why Sweden is the worst (4SD) outlier. But Ireland is puzzling. I suspect that if we had the effective diseases specific population density then both Ireland and France would move much closer to the median.

    “I won’t let you forget this one” – No more adorable puppy? Is it going to be snarling puppy now?

    • Replies: @res
  55. Neoconned says:

    How are they getting the actual money though? I was under the impression they have to mail you an unemployment card…..

    Do the saps at the unemployment office wire the cash overseas or do the Nigerians have ppl here who get the debit card and then wire the money home???

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  56. Anonymous[119] • Disclaimer says:
    @Fun

    But the bigger point is that sooner or later Nigeria will, de facto, cut off entirely from global commerce, telecommunications, banking and finance systems, and individual Nigerian people will be summarily racially discriminated against in all business endeavors. Despite all the ‘anti discrimination’ bullshit, nothing but nothing is a stronger motivator than the wish to preserve one’s own money – even complete tossers like Tim Wise would do this if his *own* money was at stake.
    In the final analysis, the Nigerian people will be the biggest losers. The analogy is with crooked politicians trying to ‘buy’ ‘prosperity’ by printing money. It might work in the short term, but the pay back, when it comes, is infinitely worse (inflation) than the supposed evil it was meant to cure.

  57. Anonymous[363] • Disclaimer says:

    All business and commerce – and thus life a cut above that of the wild beast living in a hole in the ground, gnawing at roots and rotten bones – is dependent on one thing and one thing only for its continuation, namely an implicit pact of trust between buyer and seller. Once that goes, everything else goes. That’s why I have great difficulty with people who laud these fraudsters as being ‘smart’.
    They are about as ‘smart’ as the man who shits in his own drinking well.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  58. @Anonymous

    The best fraudsters shit in other people’s drinking wells. You stay as a minority and hope the majority culture retains the gullibility you can exploit. If the place becomes a craphole, you move somewhere else. You may have to bribe the rulers or even make yourself useful to be allowed in.

    Off topic, the new Chinese ambassador to Israel has died mysteriously.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8327695/Chinas-ambassador-Israel-58-dead-bed-just-three-months-job.html

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Art Deco
  59. @Neoconned

    In the UK most “Nigerian fraudsters” are either based here or have people based here. The money disappears to Nigeria pretty quickly though.

    Off topic, but Square Mile News is a better London news site than the Evening Standard. Where else will you find a story like this

    http://squaremilenews.blogspot.com/2020/05/layer-cake-actress-nicked-for-car.html

    or this?

    http://squaremilenews.blogspot.com/2020/05/bus-sex-pest-hunted-in-heart-of.html

    or this very odd one ?

    http://squaremilenews.blogspot.com/2020/01/top-consultant-radiologist-arrested-in.html

    • Replies: @Rob McX
  60. jill says:

    All foreigners

    OIG Most Wanted Fugitives
    This webpage contains information about OIG’s most wanted health care fugitives. In all, we are seeking more than 170 fugitives on charges related to health care fraud and abuse. Navigate to other sections of our fugitives site to learn more:

    https://oig.hhs.gov/fraud/fugitives/

  61. @Anonymous

    Old people are naturally vulnerable as hell to scams, frauds, and businesses organized to leverage their credulity and need for someone to talk to.

    Last year, my 80 y/o father got slick-talked into trading in his paid-off, low mileage 2018 Lexus and leasing a 2019 model.

    Last month, he called on an ad for $59 AC tune-up special on his 3 y/o AC system and got duped into a $1500 UV light mold inhibitor.

    Every month or so, he attends the “free-lunch” investment seminars and is now talking about annuities.

  62. Art Deco says:
    @Amerimutt Golems

    Somalia and Nigeria aren’t even real countries but collections of different families, clans and tribes.

    There is nothing imaginary about Somalia or Nigeria. Nigeria might have benefited from being broken up into smaller units, as might a number of African countries, but none of them have willingly done so and only two after decades of political violence.

  63. Art Deco says:
    @Anonymous

    Old people are naturally vulnerable as hell to scams, frauds, and businesses organized to leverage their credulity and need for someone to talk to.

    No, old people losing their marbles are vulnerable.

    • Disagree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @kaganovitch
  64. Rob McX says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    From the third story you linked to:

    The court heard during the first hearing Dr. Shahabuddin had failed to take his anti-psychotic medication at the time of his arrest.

    He holds many senior positions, both in the National Health Service and the private field. He is a consultant radiologist at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital; Princess Grace Hospital, Marylebone; The Harley Street Clinic; the Physician’s Clinic and 101 Diagnostics.

    With Barts Health NHS Trust he is a specialist in Oncological and Gastrointestinal Imaging.

    Another incentive to avoid getting sick these days.

    • Replies: @Alden
  65. @res

    Anything that increases network connectivity between people is likely to increase the effective R0

    Therefore, gentleman, to combat this pandemic I will take the initiative in ending the internet

    • Replies: @res
  66. res says:
    @utu

    These are the only countries outside the 1SD band. Is it cherry picking?

    It is at least rule based. So in that sense it is not a pure example of cherry picking. But in the sense of selectively picking data which gives a result you desire–it is very definitely cherry picking.

    Do you honestly think excluding outliers in that fashion is reasonable? It is not like these are measurement errors.

    I consider that serious statistical malpractice or ignorance. Which is why I don’t intend to let you forget about it.

    I won’t let you forget this one” – No more adorable puppy? Is it going to be snarling puppy now?

    Snarling puppy shows up when someone both does/says something stupid and is obnoxious about it. Unfortunately that combination is frequent for you.

    I am kind of embracing your characterization because it has more than a little truth. Snarling puppy exists because nice guys get trampled on. Biting puppy is even worse than snarling puppy, BTW.

    • Replies: @utu
  67. Anonymous[124] • Disclaimer says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    The common, ordinary people of most nations are *not* gullible – as many a bad business model knows to its cost. For example, the British people, on the whole, knew that the EU is/was a filthy rotten bad deal for the UK – massive payments by the UK, massive immigration into the UK with nothing to show for it – despite incessant ear splitting Deep State lies.
    Who are gullible, however, and massively gullible to an extent that shames 5 year old children, are the Economist whipped political elites such hold *absolute* power in the west.
    Case in point, Baggyface Merkel’s decision to let in 1 million criminal fraudsters – plus 10 million later hangers on – into Germany to sponge off German taxpayer money.

  68. Alden says:
    @Anonymous

    Membership list of every 10 man cell of virulent neo Nazis KKK and White supremacists in the USA.

    2 FBI informants 2 ATF informants 2 $PLC informants 1 ADL informant 2 George Soros operatives and 1 unaffiliated 75 IQ local White man who lives in a care home for development disabled adults.

  69. Alden says:
    @Rob McX

    Affirmative action in action.

  70. @Art Deco

    No, old people losing their marbles are vulnerable.

    It’s not necessarily cognitive decline that makes them vulnerable. There is a loss of, for want of a better word, mental stamina that makes them particularly susceptible to being brow beaten. I have observed this in several elderly relatives who were still sharp as a tack. I think physical decline – hearing loss , vision loss etc – and the concomitant loss of social confidence play into this as well.

    • Agree: YetAnotherAnon
    • Replies: @Art Deco
    , @YetAnotherAnon
  71. Art Deco says:
    @YetAnotherAnon

    What’s the mystery? They haven’t had time to complete a post-mortem yet.

    A man’s chances of dying in his 59th year are a tad north of 1%. Your best guess is that he had a blocked coronary artery.

  72. Art Deco says:
    @kaganovitch

    particularly susceptible to being brow beaten.

    You’ve not met any of my elderly relatives.

    • LOL: Jim Don Bob
    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  73. res says:
    @adreadline

    Therefore, gentleman, to combat this pandemic I will take the initiative in ending the internet

    LOL! Great response. But practically speaking, I think the internet might reduce social (physical) connectivity in real life.

    • Agree: adreadline
  74. utu says:
    @res

    “But in the sense of selectively picking data which gives a result you desire–it is very definitely cherry picking.” – You are trying very hard to find something you could bite but you are just hurting your teeth. That’s what puppies do when their teeth are still growing. Finding outliers that do not obey a ‘rule’ is a legitimate task very well developed in statistics. Say you have variables Y, X and you want to tests the hypothesis that there is a linear component in the mutual dependence between them. So you start with correlation r. But r is not too high. You suspect that there is a hidden confounding variable which might be discrete like for example gross measurement errors or data fuckups. How should you proceed? First you do a linear non-parametric fit (see Thiel 1950 and Siegel 1982) and calculate correlation. BTW, Siegel method can tolerate up to 50% outliers, iirc. Then you find the most distant point from the line and remove it and calculate correlation and then do another fit and find the most distant point, remove it and calculator correlation and so on. You end up with correlations r0 (N points), r1 (1 outlier removed), r2 (2 outliers removed),… If you see a large jumps between r0 and r1 and between r1 and r2 but then there are no big jumps between r2 and r3 and r4 and after you implementing some statistical mumbo-jumbo criteria and doing hocus pocus p-values and all the bells and whistles designed for the slaves to statistics you will be able to tell that point1 and point2 are outliers, i.e, hidden discrete variable kicked them out away from the linear functional dependence. Obviously you can skip the damn statistics and plot the points and by eye balling you will know pretty well which are the suspect outliers if r>0.5.

    So this is what I did with Y=death/1M and Y=Pop.Density for N=30 countries. The first outlier is Sweden and then Ireland and the France and Belgium. There is large jump in correlation from N points and N-4 points. R-square jumps from 28% to 57%. Now we hypothesize what is the discrete hidden variable. It is obvious for Sweden – they do not have countermeasures, lockdowns. I do not know what is wrong with Ireland and France but I suspect that if we had diseases specific population density they would move closer to the line.

    • Replies: @res
  75. @Art Deco

    “You’ve not met any of my elderly relatives.”

    “My grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe who owned a small necktie factory on the outskirts of Montreal. While visiting them one weekend, I found my grandfather on the factory floor, cutting shapes out of irregular stacks of cloth with a fabric saw. He explained that by carving up the remnants that were left over when the neckties had been cut out and stitching them together in places that didn’t show, he could get a few extra ties out of each sheet of cloth. I asked him why he was doing this himself rather than leaving it to his employees. He shrugged, tapped his forehead, and said, “Goyishe kop,” a term of condescension that literally means “gentile head”. He wasn’t exactly serious, but he wasn’t exactly not serious either.”

    https://newrepublic.com/article/77727/groups-and-genes

  76. @kaganovitch

    I think sometimes just having someone to talk to who treats them as if they still have agency, that their life’s not over, makes them feel – “hey, I can still make new friends, get new things done!” is key to this kind of old person scam.

    After all, divorced women in their 40s who get ripped off by romance fraudsters have zero hearing loss or vision loss.

    There was a crusty, cantankerous, socially isolated old farmer not far from me who had half a dozen lovely but decaying houses on his land. Many people (myself included) had asked if he was interested in selling and been told to go away in no uncertain terms. Then one day a traveller (and criminal) turned up, wouldn’t take no for an answer, bought the whole place and made a fortune selling them off. Whether he was browbeaten (threatened, the guy had violence convictions) or “befriended” who knows? Result’s still the same.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    , @kaganovitch
  77. @YetAnotherAnon

    There are conmen who read the obituary notices in the newspaper and quickly descend upon the bereaved to scam them out of some money. It works on widowers and well as widows.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  78. @Steve Sailer

    Still, nowadays there are willing victims, grown men who give money to women to see them undressed or half-dressed on a screen, even though undressed women on a screen are not exactly hard to find on the web. It’s the simalcrum of a relationship they’re after, though I still don’t quite understand – after all, I’m told the “girlfriend experience” is something many prostitutes will cater for.

    This girl has 5 million youtube subscribers.

    • Replies: @Jim Don Bob
  79. @YetAnotherAnon

    After all, divorced women in their 40s who get ripped off by romance fraudsters have zero hearing loss or vision loss.

    But there is a loss of social confidence which is the significant factor.

  80. MEH 0910 says:


    [MORE]

  81. res says:
    @utu

    And you consider that good statistical practice. Good to remember for judging your other statistics based arguments.

    One tip, if you are going to do something like that maybe consider not eliminating the most important data points (highest death rates) first?

    And please go back to my comment before yours and reread this: ” It is not like these are measurement errors.”

    It is both amusing and frustrating to anticipate bad counterarguments yet see them made anyway.

    • Replies: @utu
  82. @Jim Don Bob

    “Who is she?”

    I think she’s Korean.

    https://www.instagram.com/pokimanelol/

    I didn’t post the guy’s ID in hope that one day he’ll grow up enough to be embarrassed by it, but the caption to that twitter post is

    “im kinda short on savings right now but ill defo get $500 to drop on your stream this week @pokimanelol. Hope she see’s this and knows how much I appreciate her”

    Many such cases !

    Then there’s that Brit girl who sells her bathwater.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/belle-delphine-instagram-bathwater-pornhub-2019-7?r=US&IR=T

    • Thanks: Jim Don Bob
  83. utu says:
    @res

    “One tip, if you are going to do something like that maybe consider not eliminating the most important data points (highest death rates) first?” – Where did you get the idea that there are more and less important data points? By what criterion? That data points with the highest death rate are the most important is the most blatant example of cherry picking. (Btw, Spain, Italy and UK have larger than Sweden and France death/1M and they are not the outliers.) Res, the cherry picker. Arguing against itself is how it ends when the biting puppy zones on its targets based on its shortsighted narrow horizon blinded by his prejudice and bias. Res ends up arguing against the cherry picking with cherry picking. You need to back off and cool down, res.

    The algorithm of the non-parametric regression and shaving off the outliers looks at the largest outliers whether positive or negative and shaves them off. In the case of death/1M vs. the population density it happens that the largest outliers are above the regression line. The outliers are not the most important points. In fact they are the least important points to establishing the functional relationship between death/1M and population density.

    • Replies: @res
  84. res says:
    @utu

    The primary reason to do analysis of data like that is to try to understand what is causing the fatalities. Which makes the countries with the highest fatality rates more important. That you can’t understand that is fascinating. But please, go push some more equations around. I just hope you never have to do an analysis that matters to anyone.

    • Replies: @utu
  85. utu says:
    @res

    “The primary reason to do analysis of data like that is to try to understand what is causing the fatalities.” – I thought we knew that already in January.

    “Which makes the countries with the highest fatality rates more important.” – The countries with the lowest fatalities are less important? Why? Are you falling into that a priori cherry picking fallacy again? That big is important and small is not? How do you plan to study a linear regression when you neglect the points at the low end? To draw a line you need points on both ends.

    But let’s look at the top ten largest fatality per capita countries. Sweden is the sixths but the largest outlier. Ireland is the eights and the second largest outlier and France is the fifths and the third largest outlier and Belgium is the first but the smallest outlier. The remaining six out of ten largest fatality per capita countries contribute to the non-parametric regression line and because of their presence the correlation is high (over 0.75). The hypothesis that there is a linear relationship between death/capita and population density is confirmed with 57% variance explained for 26 countries that include six out of the top ten largest fatality per capita countries including 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 7th, 9th and 10th country. The hypothesis that another unknown factor plays a role is also confirmed for three outliers and for the greatest outlier, Sweden, the factor in non unknown. We are pretty sure that the minimal countermeasures in Sweden makes it the worst outlier.

    “That you can’t understand that is fascinating.” – What? That I do not understand your a priori cherry picking methodology of disregarding low values? Now, what is not fascinating but rather pathetically obvious are your failed attempts at creating an aura of superiority which usually is the first refuge of man who feels inferior. Why do you feel inferior? Tell me, res why are you consumed with the ill will which makes you irrational to the point of exposing your weaknesses that a rational person would rather not disclose. Did I hurt your ego or something? Is your ego that fragile?

    • LOL: res
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